Contributed by Vincent Makiyi and Chisomo Kamchacha

Dowa District Open Day, September 10, 2015

For every tremendous work, there is always need for recognition and appreciation. Dowa District Agriculture Development Office (DADO) found it vital to organise a road show field day to showcase promising agricultural interventions that are being implemented in Dowa district.

The event was organised under the theme, “Harmonized Implementation of Technologies and Diversification of Enterprises; Key to Sustainable Food Security, Climate Change Mitigation and Economic Empowerment to Rural Households.” Held on 10th September, 2015, the field day focused on various winter activities in the agriculture sector. The road show route started from Chibvala EPA and ended in Kafulu Association in Chisepo EPA, where the ceremony and speeches were given including that from the guest of honor, the district council chairman.

Although the Dowa DADO was the principle organiser of the event, the work of other civil society organisations working in the agriculture and food security sector in the district were also featured, including: World Vision, Kusamala, Heifer International and Trustees of Agricultural Promotion Programme (TAPP). It was a great event, and invited organisations were very much excited to showcase their individual interventions in the district.

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TAPP`s interventions were the first to get toured and appreciated. They had a stand showcasing conservation agriculture techniques they are implementing in Pheleni Village. Group village head man Nkukula, and Master Chifuta, a lead farmer, demonstrated how they make liquid manure from livestock manure, and pit manure as a tool for cheap soil fertility improvement in the fields and gardens.
Livestock pass on programme is one of the initiatives that Heifer International is currently implementing in Dowa district with partnerships with government – the ministry of agriculture, irrigation and water development.
Home Gardens were the talk of the day, which Kusamala is currently promoting in Chibweza Village where the tour visited, as well as over 100 other villages in Dowa district. Vegetables and herbs are being grown using permaculture techniques, such as grey water and locally available resources such as manure and locally available seeds. The techniques aim to maximize output while reducing agro-inputs with the profound aim of achieving food security in the long run.
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CSA project farmer in Chibweza Village.

Thawale and Tikondane clubs are two amazing local agricultural clubs supported by government extension workers, that are setting a very good example in promoting the cultivation of drought resistant crops such as cassava and sweet potatoes as one way of reducing food insecurity and vulnerability through crop diversification in the community.
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Representatives from Thawale and Tikondane clubs in their cassava field.

CSA Farmer Field Day, Chibweza Village, September 17, 2015
A week after the District Open Day, Kusamala hosted its own farmer field day in Chibweza Village. The the theme of the day was: “Promoting Home Gardens for food Diversification and Nutrition through Climate Smart Agriculture”
Many people made the trip to Dowa district to tour our CSA farmer’s home gardens and become inspired by their hard work. In Chibweza village alone, there are 135 home gardens growing a variety of vegetables such as: pumpkin, mustard, beans, sweet potato, amaranth and tomatoes.
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Some of those in attendance were:
Senior Chief Dzoole (Representing TA Dzoole as guest of honor) and Group village headman Mthunzi
Guests from Ministry of Agriculture:
1. Albert BD Kumwenda: Sustainable Agriculture and Land Resource Conservation Officer (SALRCO)
2. Immedie A. Rajabu: Irrigation Officer
3. Gloria Lidamlendo: District Agriculture Extension Officer
4. Annet Mlenga: District Agriculture Land Resource Officer
5. Beatrice Kaposa: Agriculture Extension Development Officer
6. Violet E. Ngungwe: District Agriculture Communications Officer
7. William Tembo: Agriculture Extension Development Coordinator
8. Richard S. Kaposa: Agriculture Extension Development Officer
Students from Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (LUANAR) who are on internship at the District agriculture office: Chisomo Kaphuka, Catherine Kakwela and Juvita Shaba.
As well as Kusamala’s Board Chair: Stacia Nordin
And from:
Neverending Food: Kristoff Nordin
World Renew: Faye Yu
Malawi Mangoes: Amanda Sefu